By contributing writer Brendan McGurk
I write to you from a terrifying and foreboding place; no, it’s not Iraq; the draft board still hasn’t found me…I’m writing from someplace equally bad and much more immediate: the REAL WORLD. And as much as I may wish, it’s not the MTV version; rather, it’s the up-at-5:30AM, work-40-hours-a-week mundane existence that we will all face someday. While the story of why I started my hopefully short-lived sabbatical in the seventh circle of hell is inconsequential (apparently, diabetes and heroin don’t mix…who knew?), this account is uniquely valuable since it is a premature look at our collective futures, somewhat like a near-death experience, only more painful. To put it mildly, life after college is going to suck harder than Paris Hilton for a mountain of coke.
I know it seems like stating the obvious; if you were like me, everyone and their third cousin’s boyfriend’s retarded dog-walker told you at the end of high school that your college years were going to be the best of your life. You could guess that it was their special way of saying you probably will hit the peak of your life by your 22nd birthday, but what he/she/it failed to mention is how quickly you will go from the deliciously hedonistic lifestyle of your alma matter to the starkly boring routine of the working world. Though you may think you got a taste of post college-life if you worked over summers and Christmas break, it’s an entirely different beast once you realize you’re not going anywhere for a long time.
The first shock you’ll probably get will be at your job; whether you’re working in accounting, marketing, IT, or pretty much anything else (including hooking), whatever you do will be utterly boring. You may say to yourself, “But my Advance Psych: Analysis of the Cognitive Ability of Snails class is so boring that I have to smoke up before class so I don’t break down and cry, ending up in the fetal position in the aisle.” (NOTE: The author does not intend to demean the valuable work that those in psychology do….really…I mean it.) That’s probably true, but there is one key difference…you only have to sit through Professor Rottencrotch’s class two or three times a week for an hour at a time. At your job, you’ll be the new guy, but not in the fun way like at a fraternity (though the paddling really wasn’t THAT great…); you’ll be the new guy who gets all the shitty jobs like counting all the paperclips in the office to confirm something, but your supervisor isn’t sure what…he just wants an up-to-date inventory and for you to leave him alone so he can send mildly entertaining emails (read: painfully obvious or stupid comments about current affairs, i.e. bin Laden smells like a yak) to his friends.
Even in the face of that, I bet a lot of you are saying “I can put up with boring, pointless things at work—I mean, I still have another 120 hours or so to sleep, play kings and Beirut (or beer pong, no geographic discrimination), and watch OC reruns.” Au contraire, mon ami; here comes the second shock. Those seemingly measly 40 hours a week seep into every corner of your life.
I don’t mean you’ll be at home in your bed mumbling about TPS reports in your sleep (at least not at first…); it’ll start out with the small things. At the beginning, you and your friends will still go out, sometimes after work to hit the bars, but mostly on weekends. Then, as time goes on, you’ll start going to bed earlier so you can get up to make that 6:30AM train, maybe even going in a weekend day here or there to catch up cause your damn boss keeps ragging on you about the stupid project updates when he knows that accounting is dragging their ass and…well, you get the picture.
Eventually, you’ll wake up one morning to the cruelest of all the shocks…the realization that you’re living like a 40 year-old, staying in your parents’ basement, bringing a brown bag lunch to work every day, and the highlight of your days is watching Law & Order: SVU reruns over your TV dinner. The moral of the story, kiddies, is that life after college will suck. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get in the fetal position and sob like a drunken freshmen girl under my desk.